Executive Summary

Mustafa Onur, Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS

I’m writing this Executive Summary at the end of April, marking approximately 7 months since I began my term as the Executive Editor (EE) for SPE Journal. I have become more familiar with the EE role and the "load" an EE carries, as well as with the peer-review process, which starts with a number of the papers assigned (by SPE’s peer-review staff) to the EE almost every week. First, I read the papers assigned to me to determine which of the papers are appropriate and within the scope of SPEJ. If some of them are not appropriate for the journal and/or peer review, I make one of the possible initial decline decisions (Initial Decline--Not Appropriate for Peer Review, Initial Decline--Other, and Initial Decline--Not Appropriate for Journal) on the paper. For the papers that are appropriate for SPEJ, I determine and assign the appropriate Associate Editor (AE) to start the review process for each paper, and then follow up the process until the AE returns with a final decision based on the decisions and comments of least three Technical Editors (TEs). I then make the final decision on the basis of the recommendation of the AE and send it to the Editor-in-Chief for approval. When the time comes (typically a month-and-a-half before the issue will be published) to prepare the bimonthly issue, the Senior Staff Editor contacts the EE and provides the EE with a list of possible papers from which the EE selects more or less 15 papers to appear in the issue. Then, the EE returns his list of selected papers and the Executive Summary for the issue.

Although the process can be described simply, it requires a great deal of hard, timely work and dedication involving SPE's experienced and helpful Technical Publications staff, the TEs, AEs, EEs, and the Editor-in-Chief.

Next, I would like to present some statistics regarding the number of paper submissions and the number of manuscripts classified by decision over the last 7 months. I am thankful to Stacie Hughes, the Peer Review Administrator, who has provided the data to me and always makes my job easy.

The total number of all manuscripts submitted to SPEJ on or after 11 September 2012 is 350. Sixty-seven percent of the 350 submissions were papers from the SPE conferences, while the remaining 33% were direct-to-peer from 20 countries (including the US). Not surprisingly, most of the journal's papers originate with SPE conferences.

The number of manuscripts by decision is 196. The turnaround time (i.e., time from submission to the first decision) is on the average 55 days. Forty percent of the total of 196 manuscripts were given decisions in less than 30 days; 60 and 80% were given decisions in less than 60 and 90 days, respectively. These are all good signs that we are doing well so far, and that a quite number of authors prefer to publish their work inSPEJ.

With this issue, we would like to welcome some new outstanding AEs to the Editorial Board: Hui Zhou of ConocoPhillips, Evren Unal of Total, and Ramachandran Venkatesan of Chevron. They are all internationally known experts in their respected fields of study, and without a doubt they will significantly contribute to the review process of SPEJ. We would also like to recognize the service of Lee Chin, who has completed his service and has retired.

Chris Carpenter, the Senior Staff Editor, sent me a list of 44 outstanding papers to make the lineup of 15 papers (the target for each issue) for this issue. I have selected 17 excellent papers from Chris's list covering a wide spectrum of subjects: drilling and completion (two papers), EOR (three papers), CO2 sequestration and storage (three papers), history matching (two papers); fines migration (three papers), oilfield scale (three papers), and hydraulic fracturing (one paper).

The issue begins with two papers addressing important issues in drilling and completion. The first introduces a new mathematical drilling model and new closed-form expressions for the magnitude and orientation of the rotary steerable pad force required for the inclination of the borehole during drilling operations. The second paper addresses the critical factors that govern the expandability and collapse of expandable tubular pipes, and provides basic data for improving the reliability of casing designs for expandable tubulars.

There are three papers on EOR, offering new insights and modeling approaches for gas injection, chemical, and thermal methods. The first paper in this category provides new insights into fluid dynamics of foam mobility control with a detailed laboratory study of nitrogen-foam propagation in natural sandstones in the absence of oil. The second paper presents a procedure to implement the effect of pressure and solution gas on microemulsion phase behavior, which significantly affects oil recovery during surfactant/polymer (SP) floods, in a chemical-flooding simulator. The third EOR paper extends our understanding of steam-assisted gravity drainage by examining its performance in the presence of in-situ emulsification and the associated flow of emulsion with bitumen in porous media.

The issue continues with the three papers on CO2 sequestration and storage. The first such paper presents a new fully coupled multiphase multicomponent flow and geomechanics model for enhanced coalbed methane recovery by the injection of CO2 and storage, while the second paper investigates the fluid/rock interactions causing formation damage (quantified as permeability loss) caused by precipitation of sulfate and carbonate scales during CO2 sequestration in deep saline carbonate aquifers by laboratory and modeling studies. The last paper in this category proposes a general methodology of detecting CO2 leakage in shallow groundwater chemistry on the basis of the results of a near-surface monitoring program over a 3-year period, including shallow groundwater and soil gas monitoring, in the Cranfield oil field in Mississippi.

The issue next contains two papers on history matching. The first of these presents a new method based on partial separability of the objective function with local components referred to wells and/or seismic zones to allow one to reduce significantly the number of reservoir simulations for a gradient-based optimization method in history matching. The second paper introduces a multivariate population-based algorithm, known as the estimation of distribution algorithm, employing Bayesian networks, which is shown to offer promise of high-quality history matches with a fast convergence rate.

The next three papers are concerned with fines migration. The first paper presents basic modeling equations and simulation based on these equations for waterflooding with salinity variation, causing detachment of fine particles and their migration and straining. The second paper, supported by zeta-potential measurements and a modeling study, shows that the fines migration caused by electric double-layer repulsion and the London-van der Waals attraction can be significantly reduced by using nanoparticles such as magnesium oxide as surface coatings. The last paper in this category investigates the fines migration as the local porosity changes caused by acidizing (or chemical dissolution) in meso/microporous carbonate core-sample rocks by the use of X-ray microcomputed tomography.

The next three papers provide new insights and modeling approaches on the important problem of oilfield scale. The first paper presents a stochastic hill-climbing history-matching algorithm and the results based upon this method using field data for the pseudo-adsorption isotherm (related to scale-inhibitor retention in the formation) for oilfield scale-inhibitor squeeze treatments. The second paper presents a novel efficient quantitative approach and its results, on the basis of nucleation and inhibition models, to study the thermal degradation (up to 200°C) of phosphonates and polymeric scale inhibitors. The last paper proposes the use of a quartz crystal microbalance to evaluate the efficacy of inhibitors in the prevention of formation of inorganic scales.

The last paper in this issue is on hydraulic fracturing and presents a 3D model, supported by the experimental data, of fracture initiation in a homogeneous brittle elastic rock.

In closing, I hope that you enjoy the June issue and its 17 papers. I’ll see you in the October issue; cheerio and thank you!